The True Story of a Mother Whose Teenager Cooks the Family Dinner Every Night

The True Story of a Mother Whose Teenager Cooks the Family Dinner Every Night July 7, 2014

Speaking of feeding things, today over at I tell the riveting tale of what happens when you put your cash on the table and trust your 14-year-old to feed the family.

With great trepidation we began last month a project that seemed like a good idea when we thought it up it two years earlier: The Summer of Cooking.  The theory was that by giving our rising 9th grader responsibility for cooking for the family all summer, he’d learn how to plan meals, grocery shop, budget, and cook.  As the start date for this brilliant strategy drew near, we were gripped with the fear that we’d spend all summer eating nothing but Ramen noodles and waffles.

The story-behind-the story: I bought my son the waffle maker for Christmas, because I figured waffles for dinner would triple the menu items.  He also came into this experiment knowing how to make grilled cheese.

We were motivated to try the experiment because we knew the dreadful consequences of graduating high school without a culinary education:

. . .  Fast forward ten years, and we were still, as a young married couple with a growing family, trying to figure out what to make for dinner.  When you are taking care of a newborn and a toddler, it’s hard enough to get dinner on at all — let alone finally learn how to cook nutritious but simple and affordable meals.

So we came up with a plan.  The summer before 9th grade would be the Summer of Cooking.

We knew it might be terrible. We feared there might be ugly scenes of parents sneaking in carry-out late at night after the children were all in bed. But we put on a facade of courage, handed over the cash, and set the boy free to feed us.

You can find out here the details of the plan, and what the odds are I’ll lose my pleasantly-plump status any time soon.

File:Georg Flegel 006.jpg
I was afraid dinner would be about like this. Minus the wine.

 Artwork by Cornelis Norbertus Gysbrechts (fl. 1660–1683) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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